@ a quaint little restaurant in Pondy :D
It was in 2003, that we moved to Hyderabad from the hot and humid Chennai. Me and my two daughters, in classes 1 and 3, were pretty excited about the shift. And it was a shift to the land of “Paradise” for me. I’ve heard all about the yummy food stories in the land of Nizams and I was waiting to taste it all.
But of course, since we shifted after the academic year was over, we all landed on the hottest day of the City in the beginning of May. The sun’s rays hit upon us with all the force it had and the house felt like an oven. New to this climate, our eyes puffed up immediately. How red the eyes became !! We didn’t know to handle that heat, even though we stayed at home the whole day. Help came through neighbors and relatives. A bottle of sabja seeds was pushed into my hands by my aunt, with instructions on how to soak them and how to eat them too. Lots of onions were consumed to cool our bodies. And slowly and steadily, we got accustomed to that heat. Of course, the swimming pool was greatly helpful in cooling us off.
And then we started enjoying the rains along with the chill which prevailed at all the times. It was a wonderful feeling for me, as I have never experienced such chill in the climate. I started loving the contrast in climate, in the amazing food, in the people (they are more friendly, for sure) and on the whole, started loving Hyderabad.
And then came the winters and with it started another issue as well.
My girls needed to catch their school bus by 7am and it used to be quite chill during those morning hours. Even though wearing a scarf and sweater was part of the uniform and the girls wore them quite diligently, the chill wind always affected them, especially my younger one.
She’ll often fall sick with terrible cough and fever and the phlegm she used to spit gave me the scares. I used to take her to a Pediatrician, who eventually became my daughter’s friend too. She used to prescribe very low dose of antibiotics stating that too much would affect the child’s health in the long run. Even though I appreciated her thoughts, I was helpless as the cough never subsided.
And also the Doctor would never give antibiotics for longer duration, even when my child was prone to throat infections quite often. I used to feel terrible and helpless on most days. I just wanted the winter to go away. My first chilly winter where I could really enjoy the day with a sweater, was not appealing to me, because of my daughter’s throat infections.
I prayed to God fervently to make my child healthy again, as she couldn’t go to school which irritated her all the more. The angel came in the form of my neighbor, who suggested me to give Dabur Chyawanprash to my daughter. She said that the results are amazing and that I would say goodbye to such cough and cold disorders for ever.
The next moment, I ran to the nearby shop and got a bottle of Dabur Chyawanprash and gave both my girls a spoonful of it, followed by warm milk, as suggested by my angel neighbor. Since the girls took a liking to the taste of Dabur Chyawanprash, they enjoyed these sessions of gulping a spoonful of it and the warm milk which followed.
And then the miracle happened. Slowly and steadily I could see the changes in my daughter’s cough episodes and the phlegm spitting. The cough reduced and so did the phlegm spitting. My daughter became healthier with every day that passed by. School time was welcomed with a happy face and I was absolutely happy to have overcome a health issue with that magical bottle of Chyawanprash.
Little did I know that healthiness comes in a “Power Packed Bottle of Chyawanprash”, to which I am forever indebted to.
It was my younger one’s birthday and we took her to the bookstore. “Choose any book you like”, I told her. She was delighted – of course, what better gift than books ! After 10 mins, she came up with The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee and Shikhandi by Devdutt Patnaik. I was surprised yet happy at the same time. She had chosen two different genres and I loved the contradiction.
While she took some time to start reading the first book, she just couldn’t keep it down, once she started. Every now and then, she’ll come and just pour out her emotions to me, saying that things are not fair with women in Iran. She couldn’t handle the lives of women which were being dictated by men, the society and also by large, the religion. Where is the individual woman’s happiness??, she asks. And when she finished the book, all she could fume about was how selfish children turn to be in their later years. Instead of gifting their mother with happiness, all they could do was stomp it away with their talks on societal customs on how a widow should hold on to her husband’s image and heroism. The more she talked about, the more intrigued I was. Even though I had to push myself to squeeze in the time required to read this book, I am glad I read it.
Massoumeh is an ordinary girl, passionate about learning. On her way to school she meets a local man and falls in love – but when her family discover his letters they accuse her of bringing them into dishonour, beat her and hastily arrange a marriage to a man she’s never met.
The years that follow Massoumeh’s wedding prove transformative for Iran. Her husband Hamid is a political dissident and when the secret service arrest him, it is the start of a terrifying period for Massoumeh. Her fate, so long dictated by family loyalty and tradition, is now tied to the changing fortunes of her country.
There is this conventional typecast for mothers, actually women – they are born to sacrifice everything for the happiness of their children and family, in the name of society and religion, even if its going to make the women’s existence extremely painful. The women are brought up that way, by their own mothers, grand mothers, aunts and who not ! So, over a period of time, these women feel guilty to even think of small personal happiness. How much a woman should study, when she should get married, how long she should endure an unhappy marriage – nothing is in the hands of these women. It’s so scary sometimes, when women hesitate to take decisions, on matters of such importance.
And I wanted to hit the typecast with a hammer – this book does that to you. After reading this book, I felt the true bolt of Iranian war and revolution and how it affected its masses. They fell from hot coals to deep fire, when the one Government was toppled and the religious one gained momentum. To have existed in such a place in itself is a great thing. To face the hardships of Massoumeh, is another thing.
Some quotes which I liked from the book:
- Even in the arts, they considered only artists who shared their perspective to be true artists; everyone else was an idiot. If I said I liked some singer or thought someone was a good poet, your father would argue that the singer or poet supported the Shah or was anti-communist, therefore his work was rubbish. He would actually make me feel guilty for enjoying a song or a poem !
- No, my son, you don’t need a hero. I could understand your obsession while you were a boy, but now you are a grown man and you neither need to be a hero, nor do you need to follow one. Stand on your own two feet and rely on your own intelligence and knowledge to choose the leaders you want to support and the instant you think they are heading in the wrong direction, take back your vote. You should not follow any person or ideology that asks you to blindly accept everything. You don’t need myths. Let your children see you as a man with a solid character who will protect them, not as someone who still needs to be protected. —- Such clear advice from mom to son. I just wish that the son would follow suit.
A brilliantly written book which takes you through the emotions of the people of Iran during turbulent revolutionary times. My hope that she’ll at least have a bit of happiness in her later years of life was shattered by her children who suddenly showed their selfish side and didn’t like their mother to spoil the image they hold with their in-laws !
Somehow I like the movie “Mere baap pehle aap”, where the son is so happy to get his father married ! Such should be the relationship between parents and their children.
Also I read that this book was banned by the Iranian authorities – I wonder why !!
So, just go ahead and grab this book.
So lovely, right ?? I could not stop clicking :D
Serene is the word !
Person 1 : Hey…what’s for lunch today??
Person 2 : What else…sambar and rice. Today is Friday na…
Person 3 : Why that menu for every Friday ?? You should all bring meat and enjoy your lunch.
Person 2 : Hey…hey…don’t talk like that. When we do puja on Friday, we don’t cook or eat meat. And that too, today is Pradosham*. No eating of meat.
Me : You know, Pradosham is the day for Shiva and he is eats meat. Do not confuse with what you eat and how you pray. Prayers should be done with a sincere heart and it doesn’t matter what’s there in your stomach.
Have you read Sai Satcharita ?? Sai asks us to eat before prayers, so that we can focus totally on God or our prayers instead of the hunger that might eat us up.
Person 2 : But we are not used to such things. If we have had meat any day, we don’t go near our puja room without a head bath.
Me : I am confused as how a head bath can clear the effects of meat which you ate the previous day ?? And I am also confused that eating meat will have effects which needs to be cleansed. If so, why people eat meat ??
Some myths and beliefs continue to do the rounds. Even if you try to question them, there are this sect of people who don’t want to change out of those superstitions. They just keep doing what they were forced to follow when they were young. New age thinking or questioning the myths is not allowed…sigh…its sad.
In conversation with one of my neighbors, I heard her talking about her cousin who had a love marriage and how the whole family hates it, in spite of the fact that the cousin is doing well in life.
She is quite young, but has this weird belief that love marriages will not work out in the long run. It’s shocking to see this emerging set of young people – in their mid thirties, with school going children having a hate-mentality towards love marriages. What will they do if their kids fall in love later in their life ?? They’ll make their kids’ life miserable, for sure.
Marriage is a union of two minds, two hearts, two souls. It can be made successful or defeated on the first day itself. And there is also lot of work that needs to be put into that relationship. It purely depends on the compatibility of the two people who are getting married. It can even happen in arranged marriages. Then why this hatred towards love marriages ?? To be able to find love on their own is a wonderful thing to happen during one’s life.
This was my status in FB after Mr. Modi’s interactive session on Teacher’s Day.
Today, Mr. Modi’s interactive session with students happened LIVE with almost all the school children all over India, taking part in it.
My daughter also attended it in her school.
Some observations from my side :
- Loved the way Mr. Modi interacted with children and spoke to them. The children need to be spoken to by leaders – this is the age when children form role models in their minds.
- From the aspect of being a Tamilian, none of the schools here force Hindi as a language to study. Then how in God’s name are the children to understand this interactive session ?? Many of them got bored and walked away or started playing. Some schools left their children early to go home. Somehow it didn’t reach the non-Hindi speaking children of India – felt sad about it.
– Since it was an interactive session, there couldn’t be instant availability of sub-titles.
– I wish the concerned schools have recorded this whole session and taken some time to translate and make their children watch in the language they can understand.
There were a lot of criticism about this Teacher’s day session. I read that one parent said that his daughter would’ve stayed home and watched it and that there is no need to make the students watch in school. And from what I saw here in Chennai, no one watched it at home. In many schools, it was not compulsory…so the kids were sent home. And all of them, went ahead with their usual work of tuition, classes and other stuff but never tried to watch it on TV.
Also, there were many comments like Mr. Modi has taken away the Teacher’s Day charm and made it into his PR day. Ok…may be he got the day wrong. But I liked the fact that a leader of this country took time to talk to the younger generation. This impressionable age of the youngsters is what we need to impact with positive talk and great ideas. These youngsters, if properly motivated, can do wonders for our country. So, why can’t this session be treated as one, which may have changed the mindset of many youngsters of this country ?
On a lighter note, I love it when the waves in the beach, hit my feet to soothe them and calm me inside out.
I’ve read Ashwin Sanghi before – his Chanakya Chant was quick paced and I loved reading it. His Krishna Key was also damn good and well researched even though it resembled a lot like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (Read my review of Krishna Key here).
The synopsis of Private India as said in the book is:
In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.
For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again.
In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.
And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation -along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…
I had a lot of expectations when Ashwin collaborated with another author, James Patterson. But this book is a big put down for me. After four murders happening within 48 hours, I still turned the pages without any interest.
The narrative didn’t make me sit on the edges of my chair or bite my nails with anticipation of How and Why the murders are happening.
But the following points surely made me wonder, “Why??? How???”
Even though the big letters make it easy to read for me, the story as such failed to make a mark.
Too many cooks spoil the broth. Two many authors spoiled the book for me.
Ok…I’ve tried the Briyanis at many outlets in Chennai. They don’t even reach the basic standard level. Either it tastes like tomato rice (red color) or pepper rice (black color) or curry leaves rice (green color) with a piece of chicken in it and to add to my anger, one boiled egg will be occupying most of the place in that small container. And they always over-cook the chicken. It’s never tender. It hard and fibrous and difficult to eat.
Hyderabad had done this to me…my taste buds demand a higher level of taste in food, which I fail to get in this City so far.
So, Ramzan had us eating one lousy briyani which was made with red chilli powder and over-cooked chicken :(
There was a debate. My point was that Rama can be a great King but he failed his wife Sita and that he is not a great example of husband material for men to idolize him. Even after Sita went through the fire (I don’t agree on that too), he had to send her out of the Kingdom when she was pregnant. Absolutely not justified is my opinion.
But there are people, who can’t accept this because of the strong religious beliefs imparted to them since childhood. They are unable to break the teachings that made them to what they are now. It’s quite sad to know the people still hold on to those beliefs and never raise themselves to question them.
And then this happened at my home :
Overheard this conversation in my dining area…
Chithi : What book are you reading now ??
Amma : Paavai Vilakku….you have already read it. Remember, its the story abt that guy who marries 3 or 4 times !!
Chithi : Oh yeah…I’ve read it. But the men in all the stories marry many times and everyone around is OK with it. Even when Arjuna married so many times, the women felt blessed to be married to Arjuna and nobody felt that anything is wrong about one man marrying so many women. I don’t agree with it.
Amma : I agree. Now I am reading Narayaneeyam. In that Krishna marries so many times. What kind of example have the Gods displayed to us ??
** I was chuckling away to glory at how my Amma and Chithi (Dad’s younger brother’s wife) questioned the staunch beliefs that they held since childhood ** Its time for a great change in our thinking…let it happen !!
* Narayaneeyam – Slokas told by Narayana Bhattar to relieve himself of some physical disease he suffered from. Reading this is supposed to be a good healer. This is part of the Bhagavata Purana.
In another 10 days elder one is leaving to hostel. Where did the 3 months holidays go ?? Anyway, we have to get to packing, yet again :)
The younger one is a busy bee, what with her 12th class schedules, special classes and all.
And now, in another year, she’ll be in college too. Time is running too fast. I need to make more good times with the girls.
I also want to go and watch movies in the theatre.
I want to go to the beach and get wet.
I want to eat fried fish and bajjis and corn on the coals by the beach.
So, whats happening at your side ??
A few days back, I had put up a status update in FB like:
Two ladies actually mothers, were discussing about the color of their menstrual blood. And it was decided by them that the menstrual blood is BAD blood being shed from the body and that’s why it is black in color. And that’s why menstruating people are not allowed to do a host of things.
I was shocked. Bad blood huh ??
They didn’t even know from where the blood comes and how menstruation happens.
Sat with them and explained the whole process.
Am happy to have made a difference to two ladies !!
I’ve always felt that menstruation is one of the best things that happened to us, women, and there is always a greater reason that we have it in us. The comments that I got for this status update proves it beyond anything, the goodness of the menstrual blood and how much of life saving mechanisms God has given to us through our menstrual blood.
[Please refer to the link to understand why menstrual blood is darker in color]
Given below are a few comments, without taking names:
Menstrual blood is indeed a medicine. In those old days, the menstrual cloth is used to cure hunch back and serious illness. Tamil poetess Avaiyaar had explained about it.
Even now menstrual blood is used for stem cells.
Tell such ladies that you shed stem cells and not any polluted blood.
I know many educated (supposedly) women who have no knowledge about menstruation. They follow customs and belief handed over to them by generations.
Actually a research analyst in Chennai has found out that the second day discharge can actually be used as a life saver …something akin to cord blood after just preliminary refinement.
It was stem cells from menstrual blood that cured Lisa Ray and her organization Life stem is about menstrual blood banking which is a fab idea.
In Bengal menstruating women are not treated cheaply and neither are daughters..its a progressively matriarchal society. When Sharda ma got her periods..She refused to cook for Goddess Kali…Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said..this is the very basis of jananaa…if you don’t cook both my Kali and I will go hungry..Bengalis believe that as a mother accepts her daughter menstruating or not….so will Ma Kali…am happy to have been raised in such a progressive society..!!! hope this explanation will make some difference …
Now, isn’t that wonderful ?? We, women, should be happy that we have such a life saving force in our menstrual blood, in the form of stem cells and instead of glorifying it, all we end up doing is discriminating our fellow women-folk during times of menstruation.
This situation needs to change. Women everywhere should understand the benefits of menstrual blood and spread this information to more women.
We should stop criticizing that its bad blood because of its color. We should stop giving a list of Don’t dos, during times of menstruation. It’s high time we grow up to understand the necessity of such a life-saving force which is also a life-giving one.
There should be proper ways to teach young girls about this wonderful God-given gift to us. Instead of putting a full-stop to Sex-Education in school, there should be training methods to teachers on how to go on with this kind of education at school level. We should insist on teaching the girls that this nothing to be ashamed of.
My sincere request to all mothers is, please make some extra time and explain all about menstruation to your young children (both boys and girls) and how much of good things lie within that menstrual blood. Let us glorify the menstrual blood and not feel ashamed of having it.
I am totally proud of the fact that I menstruate. Are you ??
Thanks to all the friends who commented to my status in FB, giving me valuable information about menstrual blood.
…that Culinary Arts is not a Professional Course.
There are this set of oldies, who refuse to get out of this thought process. Especially when my daughter had good scores in her 10th Science and her overall in 12th, it beats them why this girl has not gone into the conventional Engineering stream or any professional course ?? Its been a year since she joined college, but the questioning has not subsided.
They even had a stupid question for us like “Didn’t she get into any other college ? Is that why she joined Culinary Arts??” And I was like Grrrr…absolutely angry…totally furious !! People, please stop being so stupid and grow up in thinking at least now.
In what way is a Culinary Arts course is considered less professional ?? I just can’t comprehend why its impossible for them to understand that being a Chef is one of the damn neat professional courses, you can ever see in today’s World. The only course, where you study what you are going to do in the Kitchen. The practical sessions replicate the kitchens where they’ll work eventually and a lot is learned by practice, while the theory part is supplementary. It’s an absolute delight to work in fully equipped kitchens and preparing the most delicate dishes, doing the plating and then finally to see the smile on the person who is happy to receive his plate. The gratification is instantaneous. And it’s certainly not like those Engineering courses, where students study something and end up working in a BPO sending emails to customers.
I would also like to remind to those people that there is something called PASSION and what we approach with passion, we’ll be happy doing it for the rest of our lives. If my daughter is passionate about cooking / baking and would like to feed people, what’s so wrong about making it her profession ??
And next time, I would like all the concerned people to come and talk to me one on one and not feed the stupid questions to somebody else. I am ready to answer to your stupidity, if its required.